| from Tina Hollenbeck |

Though I was a year-round homeschooler, there’s always been something “different” in my thought process about this time of year. My kids were typically not getting ready to start a whole new “grade level” in all their subject areas at this time of year – I mostly used ungraded material and the rolling nature of how I’d organized our days and months meant that, while we might start a new math level in September, new history material might come in November and new science in February. Yet – because of my childhood growing up in conventional schools, the nine years I spent as a public-school teacher, and the “school culture” around which most in our country organize their routines – I could never fully escape the sense of a “new year” beginning in the fall. 

But I don’t have that this year. 

My husband and I graduated our Irish-Twin daughters from our homeschool in June, thereby plunking me into the new, uncharted category of “retired homeschool mom.” Thus, I’m not feverishly working to organize our first back-to-homeschool day of the “new year.” And for the first time since 2005, I’m not planning to facilitate any academic learning for any child or teen. 

I don’t know how other homeschool moms have felt when they first retired, but for me this is not necessarily a joyous occasion. I know God designed children to grow up and launch into productive adult lives – and I praise Him that both my kids have begun this new phase of their lives on strong (if rather unexpected) footing. However, I freely admit that I envy my friends posting their back-to-homeschool pictures and wouldn’t even mind embarking on a frantic, last-minute search for a new spelling program.

And my homeschooler-wanna-be-again musings bring me back to something I’ve “preached” for years – to myself and any other momma who would listen: Enjoy the moment. Whether you’re new to homeschooling or a seasoned veteran, enjoy the moment. Whether you’re seeking the right reading program for your first child or wondering how you’ll muddle through reading Little House on the Prairie with your sixth, enjoy the moment. Whether you planned to homeschool from before you ever got pregnant or never thought in a million years you’d be doing it, enjoy the moment.

You will sincerely doubt at times whether your child will learn “enough.” You will worry about your abilities or your budget. You’ll be very busy for a very long time. But I can tell you now from the other side that you will never regret one moment of your homeschooling journey – which will fly by far more quickly than you would ever dream – if you seek to enjoy the moment you’re in as often as possible.

I’m sad having to look back at a beautiful season of my life that’s now over. But I’m thankful I can look back knowing I gave it my all and loved it in a big-picture sense. At the end of your homeschooling career, you’ll want the same thing. Start now.

Tina Hollenbeck is a homeschooling mom who passionately advocates for the merits of home education. She launched a research project that resulted in The Homeschool Resource Roadmap to serve the homeschool community she loves. Through this initiative, she seeks to provide useful information and encouragement for those called to raise and educate their own children, so that they will feel confident that they are equipped for the task.

Check out Tina’s helpful and informative information:

Views From the Road Home (blog)     https://www.viewsfromtheroadhome.org/

The Homeschool Resource Roadmap (free summative information about more than 4,400 homeschool-oriented resources in over 300 different content areas)     https://www.homeschoolroadmap.org/

The Christian Homeschool Oasis (discussion and help forum)     https://www.christianhomeschooloasis.com/